The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has named Bloomington its 2014 Community of the Year. Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Jeb Conrad believes continued public and private sector investment in quality of life efforts helped the city's application stand out. He also cites the community's higher education assets including Indiana University and Ivy Tech Community College as well as business leadership from companies such as Cook Group Inc. Conrad says the designation puts the city in a strong position to attract new business and quality of life investment.
The city of Bedford earned the Community of the Year award in 2013.
August 28, 2014
Indianapolis, Ind. — The city of Bloomington was named the 2014 Community of the Year today by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. The announcement came at a city hall press conference attended by local government, civic and business leaders.
“This is a tremendous honor for the greater Bloomington area and I proudly accept it on behalf of our citizens and businesses,” said Mayor Mark Kruzan. “Our philosophy is that quality of life is synonymous with economic development. If this is a place that you choose to live, work and play, it's the kind of place you want to do business.”
Bloomington's quality of life and amenities along with its emergence as a major high-tech sector for the state were cited as primary factors in its winning the award.
Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar on the selection: “Bloomington is truly unique for a city of its size; it boasts so many cultural, arts, recreational and entertainment offerings. It has big city options with the comfort that comes from living in a close-knit community.”
Brinegar also noted the economic impact Bloomington's life sciences arena continues to have on the region and emphasized the impressive focus on technology by public and private entities.
“The work of the Bloomington Technology Partnership has been first rate, fostering growth of the city's emerging high-tech economy through talent recruitment, networking opportunities and technical assistance,” he stated.
“A key part of that effort has been driving technology through education, both at Indiana University and Ivy Tech. This has contributed to seeing an 80% growth in tech sector employment in recent years.”
Among the other impressive technology endeavors highlighted by the Indiana Chamber:
• The 65-acre Bloomington Certified Technology Park with the 12-acre core property currently under development
• The progress of IU’s School of Informatics, the first of its kind in the U.S., which has produced a steady stream of high-quality technology professionals
• Establishing the Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech and the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at IU
• The coding school program that addresses a skills gap need in the technology sector
The 2014 Community of the Year award will be presented to Mayor Kruzan and Bloomington during the Indiana Chamber's 25th Annual Awards Dinner on November 6 at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. The 2014 Business Leader of the Year and Government Leader of the Year recipients will be announced at that time.
More than 1,400 business, political and community leaders are expected to attend. Saturday Night Live alum Dennis Miller, whose current focus is political commentary on Fox News and a nationally-syndicated talk radio program, will headline the event. Tables of 10 and individual tickets are available for the reception (5 p.m. EST) and dinner (6:30 p.m. EST). Reservations can be made at (800) 824-6885 or at www.indianachamber.com/specialevents.
Media interested in covering the event should contact Rebecca Patrick at (317) 264-6897.
Past Community of the Year recipients:
2010: Terre Haute
2001: Greater Lafayette
1999: Fort Wayne
1993: St. Joseph County
Source: Indiana Chamber of Commerce